Chief of Party, Rural Resilience Activity at Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps

Since 1979, we have helped people grappling with the toughest hardships survive – and then thrive. That’s the heart of our approach: We help communities turn crisis into opportunity. Throughout our history, Mercy Corps has demonstrated innovation, timeliness and the ability to adapt quickly to changing realities.

  • Job Type: Full Time
  • Qualification: MBA/MSc/MA
  • Experience: 10 years
  • Location: Abuja
  • Job Field: NGO/Non-Profit  , Project Management 

The Position 

  • The CoP will provide overall leadership, management, and strategic vision to the final phase of implementation of the Rural Resilience Activity, to ensure that the program meets its targets and deliverables within the remaining completion time.
  • The CoP will leverage the program’s established partnerships platform towards consolidating program impacts. In addition to progress towards program goals, the COP will focus the final  eighteen months of the program on finalizing and leveraging strategic learning, knowledge management and dissemination, ensuring the successes and lessons learned from the program are effectively captured with evidence, communicated, and used to influence policy makers and implementers.
  • The CoP will supervise program staff and ensure accountability to Mercy Corps policies and donor rules and regulations.
  • S/he will be the primary program representative to donors, relevant government entities, partners, other implementers, and stakeholders.  

Essential Job Responsibilities 

Strategy & Vision

  • Recognize and leverage the existing opportunities for scale and impact in the program to drive sustainable impacts beyond program close.
  • Action and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions and resources to achieve objectives.
  • Oversee the development of annual, integrated strategic work-plans, learning agenda, knowledge management, and strategic influence plans for the program.
  • Integrate a resilience lens to team decision making, proactively analyzing evidence to predict trends and respond accordingly within the program scope.

Program Management

  • Oversee program management and administration of teams across various field locations.
  • Lead the development of detailed implementation plans, flowing from annual strategic workplans, and ensure the delivery of the same.
  • Lead program close out in Year 5, ensuring compliance with USAID and Mercy Corps close out processes.
  • Lead the development and implementation of the learning agenda and knowledge management and communications strategy, ensuring the program is generating evidence against priority research and learning questions, and documenting and disseminating successful, scalable models for impact for strategic influence with key internal and external stakeholders.
  • Lead the communications strategy of the program with Government of Nigeria stakeholders, ensuring necessary approvals and collaboration, responsiveness of program strategies to government priorities, and influence of government stakeholders to support program objectives and sustainability of impact.
  • Ensure that beneficiaries are effectively targeted according to established vulnerability criteria.
  • Integrate climate-smart, gender and conflict sensitive and capacity building elements into all activities as appropriate.
  • Provide managerial and programmatic oversight to partners and sub-grantee(s), including an extensive network of private sector partners.
  • Ensure partners operate in line with Mercy Corps and donor principles and adhere to safety and security minimum standards.
  • Provide quality assurance to all donor deliverables, leading on weekly reports, check-ins, program performance reports, regular success stories, etc.
  • Oversee the M&E systems for the program and ensure effective, accurate data capture for integration into adaptive management decisions.
  • Ensure collaboration and integration with the country portfolio, contributing to management decisions, communities of practice, and strategic direction.
  • Lead the effective and efficient delivery of the program within budget, ensuring that USAID expectations and program Key Performance indicators are met and exceeded.
  • Develop and execute overall project strategy, work plan, and leadership for the successful implementation of the project.
  • Manage the development of, and monitor, work plans and budgets; ensure appropriate levels of technical assistance in program operations; oversee and coordinate with key stakeholders and partners; and ensure appropriate program monitoring and reporting.
  • Build good working relationships with USAID, partners, and other key stakeholders to assist with program delivery and closeout.
  • Implement effective stakeholder management plans for the consortium ensuring sound and proactive communications with Mercy Corps Nigeria, partner organizations, Mercy Corps headquarters, USAID, Government of Nigeria authorities, and colleague agencies.
  • Conduct frequent field visits to all project sites – spend up to 30% of time in the field. 

Team Management

  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Promote accountability, and evidence-driven and inclusive culture, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback via regular performance reviews.
  • Contribute to country team-building efforts, help team members identify problem solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
  • Supervise and manage all program staff to ensure day-to-day activities are implemented in a coordinated fashion according to schedule, budget and quality.
  • Supervise and manage all program partnerships to ensure sound coordination in the context of an overall program strategic and resilience-building framework.
  • Manage and help with the recruitment, orientation, professional development and ongoing training of staff to ensure they are of the quality and technical capacity necessary to ensure the successful implementation of activities.

Finance & Compliance Management

  • In collaboration with the country program’s operations and finance departments, ensure proper financial management, procurement, administration, human resources, and logistics (including transport, warehousing and asset management) needs of the program are conducted within Mercy Corps’ policy and with the maximum benefit to the program.
  • Monitor adherence to grant agreement, Mercy Corps’ policies and procedures and relevant external rules and regulations, including those of the government of Nigeria.

Influence & Representation

  • Liaise with and represent program to USAID and other cooperating sponsors and stakeholders.
  • Represent Mercy Corps at government, donor, NGO, and other events relevant to RRA, in close coordination with the Country Director.
  • Ensure close coordination and information sharing with consortium partners, sub-grantees, local government, and other implementers, as well as with other Mercy Corps programs.
  • Establish and maintain relationships with communities and local government.
  • Utilize the evidence generated by RRA to contribute to Mercy Corps’ strategic learning, influence and advocacy goals, ensuring team contributions to key national fora and coordination platforms, such as food systems reforms, CBN inclusion committees, implementing partner coordination fora, and others as relevant.

Security and conflict sensitivity

  • Work closely with the country team’s security focal point to ensure a team culture of security and adherence to all safety and security protocols.
  • Ensure that programs are designed and implemented with a clear analysis and understanding of security and community acceptance, integrating conflict sensitivity and do no harm principles into all implementations.

Supervisory Responsibility

  • The COP has overall accountability for the RRA team of approximately 60 staff with line management of eight staff. The COP also retains overall supervisory responsibility for partnerships with international and national program partners.


Reports Directly To: Director of Programs

Works Directly With: Finance and operations teams, HQ Regional Program Team, HQ Technical Support Unit, and Partner Organizations

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

  • Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills 

  • Master’s degree or higher in agriculture, economics, business administration, or related field.
  • A minimum of ten (10) years of significant international experience and of being a Chief of Party in managing large (preferably $15 million and above) livelihood, agricultural development activities, with knowledge of market systems development and resilience programming in the African context preferred.
  • Prior experience with close out of large USAID awards.
  • Proven excellence in strategic learning, knowledge management and dissemination, combining excellent communications skills, stakeholder management expertise, and a keen eye for strategic information flows for advocacy and influence.
  • At least five years of field-based work in a conflict-prone environment and/or active insurgency environment.
  • Familiarity with climate sensitive programming, with preference for climate sensitive agriculture.
  • Demonstrated ability to be collaborative across activities, and with other programs / support departments while utilizing strong communication and interpersonal skills, with evidence of the ability to productively interact with a wide range and levels of organizations (government, private sector, other activities, NGOs).
  • Demonstrated capacity to manage complex teams, including problem solving skills, and capacity to meet deadlines and deliver quality deliverables to meet objectives; and
  • Very strong written and verbal communication skills (proficiency in English).

Method of Application